If you only call on your generators during emergencies, how will you know they can handle the power demands after an outage? Regular load bank testing is a critical component of any preventative maintenance program. Ongoing load bank maintenance helps ensure your generators can meet demands, so you have reliable power during emergency situations.
Load bank testing is one of the most important preventative maintenance projects for generators and other critical systems. Using a load bank, you're able to test the power generating capabilities of a generator. The load bank places artificial loads on the generator so you can test it at its full kW rating. The results of the load bank maintenance test evaluate the generator’s performance.
Why undergo generator load bank testing regularly? You test under a load mainly because most generators are infrequently used. If your generator never operates at its full kW rating, you don't know if it can handle power demands during an outage without overheating. That's why load bank maintenance testing is critical.
How and Why to Conduct Generator Load Bank TestingAll generators, whether used infrequently or more often, need to undergo load bank testing on an annual basis. Here’s what typically happens during the test:
- The load bank places an artificial electrical load on the generator.
- The kW load increases at timed intervals.
- At these timed intervals, you measure engine performance.
- The test proceeds until the generator is running at full power and temperature.
- The test will indicate how well the generator functions at the highest loads over a sustained period.
With proper and regular generator load bank testing, you can:
- Verify generator performance at full loads.
- Uncover issues and fix them before you need to rely on generating backup power.
- Avoid breakdowns and costly repairs by dealing with problems early.
- Make sure your cooling systems are operating properly.
Tips for Successful Load Bank Maintenance Testing
The whole point of preventative maintenance is to minimize, if not eliminate, any fallout from a power outage. You need to have confidence in your backup generators – that they will kick-in to supply power with as seamless a transition as possible, and they will operate at capacity for as long as needed.Some additional recommendations for load maintenance testing includes:
- Pay attention to the manufacturer’s operating manual. How often does the manufacturer recommend load bank testing? When should you conduct load testing? What should you do for other maintenance tasks? Consider the manufacturer's recommendations as minimum guidelines. Some situations may require more frequent load bank testing.
- Be sure to do your standby generator load bank testing for several hours. You want to ensure the generator will perform as temperatures rise.
- Monitor your generators weekly, in addition to your regularly scheduled load bank maintenance testing. Weekly monitoring will indicate if any additional maintenance is required. If you run a critical operation, such as in the healthcare or financial industries, you must diligently monitor your backup systems to avoid any loss of service.
- Switch the generator back on standby after you conduct your load bank test. Sometimes maintenance staff forgets to do this. So be sure to check that the generator is in standby mode immediately after your test.
- Keep meticulous records of load bank maintenance testing. These records include relevant data on how and when you tested backup your generators. By recording accurate data, you can ensure compliance with industry best practices and governmental regulations. You can also analyze performance trends and take corrective action when necessary.
- Hire a load bank rental provider to help you perform your load bank maintenance testing. With the right partner, you gain access to exceptional technical expertise that you may not have in-house. You also have a resource you can call for support around-the-clock.
Generator Load Bank Testing Provides Peace-of-Mind
When you lose power from the grid unexpectedly, you need a reliable source of backup power to your operation. Load bank maintenance testing verifies your generator will be a dependable source of power that can handle the highest load required for an extended period.
Emergency situations require a quick, smooth and transparent transition to your standby generator. A power failure in your facility should not impact your customers. Load bank maintenance testing ensures dependable operation of your backup generators and helps you minimize the risk of costly downtime.
Comrent’s team of load bank experts is ready to help ensure your load bank testing goes off without a hitch. We are offering a complimentary consultation to review your project and propose the right load bank solution for your requirements. To learn more about using load banks for testing and commissioning mission critical power systems, download our new eBook “7 Reasons to Consider Load Bank Testing,” or Contact us today.